**Um, Trigger warning? (this has triggers, but is about how I deal with them).
The first time I noticed the words “Trigger Warning” above a piece of writing, I thought, “What a nice thing.” I don’t believe it’s an obligation, the world is full of triggers and I don't think people should be responsible for other people’s potential reaction, but I do think it is validating and shows compassion. It is especially compassionate when dealing with traumatic events that touch so many people, like sexual violence, domestic violence, and combat, to name a few. I think it’s use has revolution-level possibilities for helping to dismantle rape culture. .
The first time I saw a trigger warning, after I thought about how nice it was, I realized I now had a choice: I could pass it up, or read the article knowing consciously that there may be information in it that could change my day. Because trauma is real. All of a sudden I was made aware that somewhere, someone else has read something triggering and had their whole day go off. They fought with their partner, yelled at their kids, felt exhausted, and wasn't quite sure why...but they couldn't get that story about the 16 year-old girl in Mexico out of their head. A trigger warning before an article about sexual violence says, “This is bad, and this is real, if this has happened to you hearing about it can still make you afraid and you can choose not to expose yourself to this if you want.” It reminds us all that rape, itself, is a trauma, which we have a hard time admitting, it seems. Choosing what you want is an act of self love, and offering the choice is validating.
Sometimes looking away feels like abandoning myself, or the girl or woman facing a hard road before her, possibly alone. I believe my attention and love is a real thing that changes the actual world around me. I may have some magic consistency issues to sort out with that, but I pray and send love all the same. I have learned, with the help of a friendly trigger warning here and there however, to go easy on myself. I have learned when to retreat and tend wounds. For the most part.
A trigger is there because it's hitting something. Something real and open. Maybe it's a wound that closes, but tears open easily, maybe it's always weeping, but it is there. So, now is the time for tending. That is the other gift of a trigger, of a wound, it gives me an opportunity to see where the love is needed. I know that's a bit hokey, but “work,” “healing,” “and “attention” don't seem to cover it. That wound just needs to be packed with love and spiderwebs, and it's not going to close without a gentle, steady pressure.
Part of me feels like a small battle has been won with The Stubbenville case. By breaking her silence, this girl, this young woman, has shone the light on something dark and ugly. A something that happens all the time and that most would like to look away from, and some can never forget. Attention was paid to a pervasive way of thinking that I think was shocking enough to jolt quite a bit of people out of their slumber. I want to believe that this is what a corner looks like, that this will be a marker. I want this girl’s fierce courage to be what marks the time when more people began the slow process of eyes opening to what has been the truth for far too long. When people started first whispering and then screaming, “How can this be!?”
It is unacceptable that this girl, and too many like her worldwide, could have been treated the same way a victim of this crime would have been treated 40 years ago, the same way that women have been treated for thousands of years. I believe this young warrior (because she has been through a battle) has opened people's eyes to the fact that we said we weren't going to put up with that, remember? Or maybe it will simply be that time for me. I feel like I have noticed women (and men) coming forward to stand by the victims and speak for love, support, solidarity, outrage and all the rest. I hear call of voices that refuse to be silenced, voices so strong that they refuse the silencing of others.
Oh man, is that music to my ears. That is my jam, right there. My favorite song.
I didn't know about the Stubbenville case from the very beginning, I keep myself carefully guarded from news. It comes through a very fine mesh, and I sift through that and take in only what I think I can handle. I have to battle a lot of creepy-voiced demons not to view that as weakness. But there's only so much I can take in compared to the action I can put out. That’s just a fact. But, I have plunged in, fully immersed myself with this case and other related news. I opened myself up for it all so my powerful heart could stand with that wolf cub. I feel good about that, and now I will refocus my gaze onto my family, do something with my hands, go outside. You can only fight the good fight if you’re healthy.
To all of the women I have heard speak out over the past few weeks, all of the people who realized this time for the first time that it wasn't their fault, all the women who remembered, and wept, who looked on in horror, who felt attacked: it is real. Circle up and tend your wounded, whether they be girls and woman among you who are going through this now, or girls and women within you holding on for some comfort. Take care of yourself.
I would have felt ridiculous saying this, I would have believed that I was alone in this. But I saw you, I know you’re there. My Wolf Pack. So I’m not too embarrassed to say that when I read something terrible about someone I don’t even know, it makes me feel really sad. I think about them for days, and it reminds me of terrible things that have happened to me, and then that hurts too. Because this thing we've been through, it's wrong, and it's painful, and it's real. And feeling that is just being a human. A wild, wide open human.
Have a wonderful weekend. Take care.
Refuse to fall down.
If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down.
If you cannot refuse to stay down
lift your heart toward heaven
and like a hungry beggar,
ask that it be filled,
and it will be filled.
You may be pushed down.
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you
from lifting your heart
toward heaven --
It is in the midst of misery
that so much becomes clear.
The one who says nothing good
came of this,
is not yet listening.
~Clarissa Pinkola Estes